I have heard that this post was quoted this morning by @EWErikson on the Rush Limbaugh show, so I bumped it to the top so visitors could find the whole thing more easily. Welcome, all.
I once heard a story told of Ravi Zacharias, where he was being driven around a campus where he was to speak, and in the course of the tour they went by the art museum. This museum was designed as an attempt to match the same kind of nihilism that they would hang on the walls inside — doors that didn’t open, staircases that didn’t reach the top, columns that didn’t go all the way — I don’t know the particulars, but that kind of dada stuff. Zacharias made a comment that went right to the heart of matter when he said, “I’ll bet they didn’t do the foundation like that.”
Van Til once observed that unbelieving thought has to oscillate between rationalism and irrationalism, and the inconsistency that Zacharias pointed to is an example of that. In the political realm, they usually manage the oscillation frequency by being irrational when it comes to the demands of their own lusts (personal choice must rule), and rational when they demand that Christians play by “the rules” (we must live in community). In short, we are called upon to “rationally” support their forays into insanity. We believers earn the capital of cultural rationality, which they get to spend on their various benders.
Because we are all busy trying to live quiet and peaceable lives, as the apostle instructed us, this can go on for a while before everybody wakes up and says what the heck. When this happens, it is generally true that rank and file Christians catch sight of the cockeyed nature of things sooner. This is because our leadership generally went off and got educated (which is not necessarily bad), but many of them caught a bad case of the respectability cooties, and have trouble seeing that the lunatics have taken over the asylum. That is a hard thing to see when it is covered over with multiple layers of textured nuance, the kind of nuance you can learn in grad school.
The need of the hour is Christian leadership that is willing to show some intelligent fight. As Chocolate Knox put it in a recent tweet, “Homo’s know what Christians believe there’s no secret, yet they get surprised every time they hear us say it. Time to lean in.”
Time to lean in. This is why I want to come back to the third point I made about this imbroglio yesterday. This whole thing makes me think it is some kind of reprise of the Chick Fil A uproar. Somebody strayed from the Appointed Way, the homolobby flexed in order to shut up a critic, middle America responded by buying so many metric tons of chicken sandwiches, and then sophisticated Christians sneered at this inadequate and “entirely predictable” and “red statey” response. The same thing has happened in the aftermath of Robertson’s comments. He said what he did, A&E suspended him for it, and more than a million regular folks have signed on to a “Stand With Phil” website. And, here comes the point of this post, Christian sophisticates are critical of . . . you guessed it! But this reminds me of something that D.L. Moody once said — “I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it.”
The contrast must not be between how unsophisticated Christians fight and how sophisticated Christians . . . what do they do? At most, they demur, with a throat-clearing caveat or two. Theologians and ecclesiastical eggheads can make merry over this kind of pop culture melee if they like. The material is there — “look at those rubes, standing against the principalities and powers with their duck calls, zz top beards, and chicken sammich haute cuisine, hold the mayo.”
But the lack of self-awareness in this criticism is staggering. These are shepherds who feed only themselves (Ezek. 34:2). When shepherds have neglected the flock for so long, and the wolves are ravaging them, and the sheep come up with some kind of strategy to defend themselves, and the shepherds sit up on the ridge, laughing at the tactical inadequacy of what the sheep are attempting, what shall we call that?
So what do we need? We don’t need generals. We have that. We need generals who fight. We don’t need leadership councils. We have those. We need national leaders who fight. We don’t need pretty boy preachers. We have those. We need preachers who fight. We don’t need evangelical regiments of pajamaboys. We have that. We need fight, and we need to fight with everything we have — heart, strength, and brains. All in.
Show me your forearms. Unless there are scars all over them, then I honestly don’t want to hear your views of the inadequacy of these cultural clashes (Gal. 6:17). When the barbarians are throwing their scaling ladders against the city walls, if the only defenders at the top of those walls are Chick Fil A employees in paper hats and hot grease from the deep fryer, and rednecks with their beards and shotguns, and nobody at all there from Red Brick Memorial Reformed, Rev. Forsythe P. Snodgrass, D.Min, minister, then let us be frank. We shouldn’t blame the folks who are there.
“His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber” (Is. 56:10).